Deanna Williamson

Associate Professor, Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sci - Human Ecology Dept


Associate Professor, Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sci - Human Ecology Dept
335 Human Ecology Building
8905 - 116 St NW
Edmonton AB
T6G 2N1



Dr. Williamson's broad research interest is the well-being of families and their members within the context of social, economic, and political conditions. A central focus of her current research is the conceptualization and measurement of family functioning in contemporary families. As well, she has examined the influence that policy has on the well-being of families in poverty. Some of her research has explored the impact of health care and social assistance policies on the health behaviours and health of people living in poor families; whether the relationship between health behaviours and health is dependent on income adequacy; and the implications of welfare-to-work policies for the health and development of pre-school children in poverty.

Dr. Williamson is conducting a project entitled Family functioning in everyday life: The experiences of families with young children and diverse compositions, socioeconomic circumstances, and ethno-cultural origins, which offers opportunities for graduate students to pursue Master's and Doctoral research projects. In this study, a critical ethnographic approach is being used to generate in-depth descriptions of the processes engaged in by families as they function in their everyday lives, with attention to social, economic, and political influences, such as social ideals, social and economic policies, and employment conditions on family functioning.


Current Research Grants 

Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, 2013-2018; Family Functioning in Everyday Life: The Experiences of Families with Young Children and Diverse Compositions and Ethno-Cultural Origins; Principal investigator: Williamson, D.L.; Co-investigators: Kushner, K.E., Pitre, N., & Skrypnek, B.J.; $489,000.

Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund, University of Alberta, 2016-2017; Needs assessment for enhanced field supervisor engagement within the Human Ecology Practicum Program; Principal Investigator: Chandler, K; Co-Investigator: Williamson, D.L.; $16,840.


Graduate students currently supervised and their research topic/area of interest

  • Razak Oduro (PhD, Human Ecology) – Research interest: Social movements and poverty reduction 
  • Brenda Reynolds (MSc, Human Ecology) – Research interest: Urban Indigenous family functioning processes
  • Emily Hendsbee (MSc (course-based), Human Ecology) – Project focus: Families with a member with a disability 


ALES 204 - Communication Fundamentals for Professionals

Successful professionals require strong communication skills. This course focuses on interpersonal communication in professional settings, examining factors that enhance or impede communication and exploring strategies for communicating more effectively with different audiences. Students develop written, visual, and oral communication skills that help them connect with others both in and outside the organization, and convey information in positive and persuasive ways. [Human Ecology]

HECOL 301 - Program Planning and Evaluation

Theories and processes of program planning, implementation, and evaluation from a human ecological perspective. Prerequisite: successful completion of *60.

HECOL 682 - Program Planning and Evaluation

Theories, approaches, and processes fundamental to the development, implementation, and evaluation of programs that effect change and build capacity in families, communities and organizations.

Browse more courses taught by Deanna Williamson


On shifting ground: First-time parents’ ideal world of paid work and family time.

Author(s): Kushner, K.E., Sopcak, N., Breitkreuz, R., Pitre, N., Williamson, D.L., Rempel, G., Stewart, M., & Letourneau, N.
Publication Date: 2017
Publication: Community, Work & Family,
Volume: 20
Issue: 1
Page Numbers: 119-141

The timing and intensity of maternal employment in early childhood: Implications for Canadian children.

Author(s): Lightbody, T.K., & Williamson, D.L.
Publication Date: 2017
Publication: Journal of Child and Family Studies
Volume: 26
Issue: 1
Page Numbers: 1409-1421

Service-integration approaches for families with low income: Families First Edmonton community-based, randomized, controlled trial.

Author(s): Drummond, J., Wiebe, N., So, S., Schnirer, L., Bisanz, J., Williamson, D.L., Mayan, M., Templeton, L., & Fassbender, K.
Publication Date: 2016
Publication: Trials
Volume: 17
Issue: 343

Anticipating parenthood: Men’s & women’s meanings, expectations, & idea(l)s

Author(s): Kushner, K.E., Pitre, N., Williamson, D.L, Breitkreuz, R.S., & Rempel, G.
Publication Date: 2014
Publication: Marriage & Family Review,
Volume: 50
Issue: 1
Page Numbers: 1-34

The protocol for the Families First Edmonton trial (FFE): A randomized community-based trial to compare four service integration approaches for families with low income

Author(s): Drummond, J., Schnirer, L., So, S., Mayan, M., Williamson, D.L., Bisanz, J., Fassbender, K., & Wiebe, N.
Publication Date: 2014
Publication: BMC Health Services Research
Volume: 14
Page Numbers: 223-234

Explicating practicum program theory: A case example in human ecology

Author(s): Chandler, K., & Williamson, D.L.
Publication Date: 2013
Publication: Journal of Experiential Education,
Volume: 36
Issue: 3
Page Numbers: 188-202

The self-sufficiency trap: A critical examination of welfare-to-work

Author(s): Breitkreuz, R.S., & Williamson, D.L.
Publication Date: 2012
Publication: Social Service Review
Volume: 86
Issue: 4
Page Numbers: 660-689

Interpreter-facilitated cross-language interviews: A research note

Author(s): Williamson, D.L., Choi, J., Charchuk, M., Rempel, G., Pitre, N., Breitkreuz, R.S., & Kushner, K.E
Publication Date: 2011
Publication: A research note. Qualitative Research
Volume: 11
Issue: 4
Page Numbers: 381 - 394

Questioning the suitability of traditional self-report family functioning measures for single-parent families with young children

Author(s): Williamson, D.L., Skrypnek, B.J., de Los Santos, N.
Publication Date: 2011
Publication: Marriage & Family Review
Volume: 47
Issue: 6
Page Numbers: 397-418

Dis-integrated policy: Welfare-to-work participants’ experiences of integrating paid work and unpaid family work

Author(s): Breitkreuz, R.S., Williamson, D.L., & Raine, K.D.
Publication Date: 2010
Publication: Community, Work, Family.
Volume: 13
Issue: 1
Page Numbers: 43-69

Health as a resource for everyday life: Advancing the conceptualization

Author(s): Williamson, D.L., & Carr, J.
Publication Date: 2009
Publication: Critical Public Health
Volume: 19
Issue: 1
Page Numbers: 107-122

Participatory action research: Practical strategies for actively engaging and maintaining participation in immigrant and refugee communities

Author(s): van der Velde, J., Williamson, D.L., & Ogilvie, L.
Publication Date: 2009
Publication: Qualitative Health Research,
Volume: 19
Issue: 9
Page Numbers: 1293-1302

Come into my life and see how it really is": Social assistance recipients' experiences of marginalization and attempts to achieve social inclusion through market citizenship

Author(s): Breitkreuz, R.S. & Williamson, D.L.
Publication Date: 2006
Publication: Life on the margins: Implications for health research. Frenchs Forest: Pearson Education Australia
Page Numbers: 40-57

Low-income people’s experiences with health-related services: Implications for health reform

Author(s): Williamson, D.L., Stewart, M.J., Hayward, K., Letourneau, N., Makwarimba, E., Masuda, J., Raine, K., Reutter, L., Rootman, I., & Wilson, D.
Publication Date: 2006
Publication: Health Policy
Volume: 76
Page Numbers: 106-121

Welfare reforms in Canada: Implications for the well-being of pre-school children in poverty

Author(s): Williamson, D.L., & Salkie, F.
Publication Date: 2005
Publication: Journal of Children and Poverty,
Volume: 11
Issue: 1
Page Numbers: 55-76

Welfare reforms and cognitive development of young children

Author(s): Williamson, D.L., Salkie, F., & Letourneau, N.
Publication Date: 2005
Publication: Canadian Journal of Public Health,
Volume: 96
Issue: 1
Page Numbers: 13-17

The role of the health sector in addressing poverty

Author(s): Williamson, D.L.
Publication Date: 2001
Publication: Canadian Journal of Public Health,
Volume: 92
Issue: 3
Page Numbers: 178-183

Health behaviours and health: Evidence that the relationship is not conditional on income adequacy

Author(s): Williamson, D.L.
Publication Date: 2000
Publication: Social Science and Medicine
Volume: 51
Issue: 1741-1754

Poverty status, health behaviours, and health: Implications for social assistance and health care policy

Author(s): Williamson, D.L., & Fast, J.E
Publication Date: 1998
Publication: Canadian Public Policy
Volume: XXIV
Issue: 1
Page Numbers: 1-25

Poverty and medical treatment: When public policy compromises accessibility

Author(s): Williamson, D.L., & Fast, J.E.
Publication Date: 1998
Publication: Canadian Journal of Public Health
Volume: 89
Issue: 2
Page Numbers: 120-124